Breaking up may seem like a fairly easy thing to do especially when you are the one who is going to be the one breaking the other person’s heart. But little do people realise that it is a greater responsibility than people actually think it is. Because when you break up with someone, it is essential that you choose your words extremely carefully. Articulation is the ultimate key!
Regardless of how you plan things, you know your guilt is going to get the better of you when you are about to break up with someone who is a considerably nice person. And your guilt is only going to grow when you realise that you are about to break up a healthy relationship with this nice person. Also, being the nice person that you are, too, you are bound to feel bad about breaking the news. And we all know, that is why you are here because you would not be here if breaking up was easy for you.
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So, now that you are considering your decision of breaking up with your long-term partner you must already be aware of the consequences. And you are sure that breaking up is the right thing to do. Maybe it is. But what if I told you that you might be breaking up with the wrong person? Would you reconsider your decision?
Hey, I don’t know you!
But that is why this is such a perfect situation for you. You are about to get an unbiased review of your decision, which is nothing but useful for you. So, might as well give this a thorough read. To ensure that you don’t end up regretting your decision, here are 15 things that you should consider when breaking up a healthy relationship.
1. Did I give my 100% to this relationship?
I have put this as the first thing to do on the list because it is the most important thing to consider when you decide to break up. No relationship is perfect. And as adults, we can all agree with that. If you think your friends have perfect relationships, you probably are letting your fantasy cloud the truth. Perhaps those couples around you are very good at hiding their struggles. And they have learnt not to let their private issues ruin their public appearances.
My relationship with my boyfriend is something that people around us call ‘couple goals.’ We are considered to be the best people to approach when a relationship hits rock bottom. People think we never have bad days and our relationship is smoother than cream. But by now you must have guessed the twist in the tale. That is right! We have our fair share of rainy days.
Are you simply giving up because the perfect pretence of other people’s relationships is swallowing you?
We never fight in public and even if we disagree around others, we have learnt to let it slide into a joke. But we do talk about it in private and try to sort it out. And what meets the public eye? A perfect relationship!
So, coming back to the question. Did you give your 100% to your relationship or are you simply giving up because the perfect pretence of other people’s relationships is swallowing you? If you have, move on to the next question. But if you have not, you might want to reconsider your decision of ending your relationship.
2. Do I have a clear reason in mind for breaking up?
When I was on the verge of breaking up with my boyfriend, I was finding reasons after reasons to end our relationship. I did not think about logic, justification or his feelings. I simply wanted to give up because we were having too many fights. But was that the right thing to do?
I was never satisfied with my reasons. And I realise that this was because my reasons were plain stupid. So, I could not rush myself into breaking up with my boyfriend. And I am happy with my decision.
I was scared of having a long-term relationship
Instead of finding reasons to break up with him, I tried to find reasons to work things out. I confronted myself to understand why I was being tormented by the thought of ending an otherwise healthy relationship. And I found the answer.
I was considering breaking up with him because I was scared of having a long-term relationship. You see, all my past relationships had ended with me being hurt. So, I had made a promise to myself that I would break up with my partner before they could hurt me. But there was nothing wrong with my current relationship. That was something that drove me crazy. Sure, there were problems but nothing that we could not solve. I realised this before it was too late. I accepted that I had no drama in life and that I did not wish for any. And that kept me from making a stupid decision within just 6 months into the relationship.
3. Are we still growing in this relationship?
The whole point of having another person hold so much importance in your life is so that you can grow together. They should help you with your issues and make you a better person. Be it mentally, physically or psychologically. You should always learn something from your partner and they should do the same. However, if you think there is no learning curve left in your relationship, you may feel like breaking up.
Avoid having a future full of ‘what if’ and ‘had I not’
I suggest you not to rush into making this decision. As someone who is taking a life-changing step, it is your responsibility to think for the betterment of both of you. Perhaps you are growing but you don’t realise it. Maybe you are at that point in your relationship when you are taking what you have for granted. Therefore, you have shut down your acceptance to new experiences and learnings.
If you think that is the problem, try giving it a little more time and figure things out. Perhaps that will help you avoid having a future full of ‘what if’ and ‘had I not.’
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4. Can counselling help us stay together?
We give counselling much less importance in India than it deserves. Maybe because we still feel that counselling is for ‘crazy people.’ And that mentality requires an enormous alteration. Look at it like taking a third person’s point of view. They can see what you can’t see.
The only way to treat a relationship
Moreover, the best part about a counsellor is that they understand exactly what the problem with your relationship is because they deal with many relationships. So, imagine what good advice from them can do to the health of your relationship.
If you think a few sessions of counselling can help you stay together, go for it. Because that is the only way to treat a relationship with a person who is willing to get help. If you feel your partner is nice enough to get a second chance, you can’t let them go just like that. Leave no stone unturned.
5. Will I be okay to see my partner with someone else after the breakup?
This is one of the most disturbing thought that lingers around in your mind after breaking up. You can’t see your partner with someone else if you are still in love with them. Even if it makes them happy. They could be over the moon with their new partner and you will still feel miserable. So, if you can’t let them have a life with another person, you are not ready to break up yet.
The most disturbing thought that lingers around in your mind
Now that you know you are not ready to let your partner go, it is time to make some changes. Not in the relationship but in your thoughts. Find out the reason for you feeling like breaking up. And work on it by either seeking help from a professional or actually altering yourself to be more accepting.
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6. Are we willing to be friends with each other after this?
“I think we are better off as friends.”
It is very easy to say it…
But very difficult to keep at it.
You are not fooling anybody with your clever compensation
Pardon my French but it is bullcrap when someone tells you that they want to be friends with you after breaking up with you. Nothing hurts as much. Not even the actual breakup. Because nobody is a child here. You are not fooling anybody with your clever compensation. That generosity would not take you anywhere.
So, stand back and think for a minute. Do you really want to be friends with your partner after breaking up with them or are you willing to let them go completely? I know that when I was thinking about breaking up with my partner, the thought of losing his friendship completely was more troubling than losing the actual relationship was. I could not imagine not having a bitter, critical and honest person around me anymore. And that changed my mind!
7. Will I regret my decision of breaking up a few years from now?
Thousand times yes!
Not to the regret of breaking up. But to the importance of this question. Whether or not you would regret your decision is secondary. And it would take a long time before you would realise that. But you would definitely regret not asking yourself this question.
It would take a long time before you would realise that
I knew that when I said yes to my boyfriend that I did not want to miss out on having a relationship with him. I never regretted saying yes to him. But the day the thought of breaking up with him crossed my mind was the day I began to ponder upon this question. And it took some time for me to be certain but I was definite that if I break up with him, I would be very unhappy. Not because I rely on him for my happiness but because it is never wise to let go off of good people from your life. And my happiness remained in the fact that I had an honest human being by my side. A very breed that one is!
8. Am I considering breaking up out of anger?
Do you think breaking up is a well-thought-of action? More often than not, it is an impulse. You inhibit the thought but you only do it when something ticks you off. And what is worse is that you keep finding that one slip off where your partner would screw up even a tad bit and you would tell them that it is over. But that cannot be termed as a well-thought decision.
It is an impulse
A well-thought decision would be when you actually list down your feelings about your partner and give it rational thought. Go back to the 2nd question; you must have a concrete and clear reason in mind. Don’t base your decision of breaking up entirely on the fact that some of your partner’s actions make you angry. You should be willing to make this about both of you and not just yourself exclusively. Do you think breaking up will be beneficial for both of you? If yes, go ahead. If no, you have to find a way to work it out. Don’t think that you are alone. Seek human advice and steer clear of those self-help books. They will only make things worse by spoonfeeding you generalised solutions. You deserve better than that. Everyone does!
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9. What has led to this point? Can it be reversed?
Speaking of impulsive decisions, every person has a breaking point. But it is not the same for all. We are quite biased. Our breaking point depends on the person we are dealing with. Actually, it depends on our perception. If we perceive a person to be nice, we have an extremely high tolerance level for them. However, when we perceive someone to be evil or resentful, we set our bar incredibly low for them.
Our breaking point depends on the person we are dealing with
So, the first thing you should do is determine where your partner stands in your life. Do you like them or find them to be resentful? Because if you are thinking of breaking up, you have surely reached your breaking point. And that is okay. But what if you have unintentionally set the bar so low for them that you are unable to see that the reason is not good enough for you to let go off of them? Dwell on this thought before you take your final call. Remember what I am trying to remind you throughout this blog; your one decision will change both your lives. And it could either be for the good or for the worse.
10. How does my partner contribute to my well-being?
There are many reasons that one decides to get into a relationship. It could either be because you wish to fill the emptiness in you or because you are trying to fit in due to peer pressure or even because you simply want to try it out. The point is that it could be anything. However, once you are in a relationship, it is your duty to make sure that your partner contributes to making you a better person. And vice versa. Simply put, you should gain something out of the relationship apart from love. Now, many would disagree with me because this does not seem entirely romantic. But romance would neither feed you nor make you smarter. Thus, it is important for you to have some rational or intellectual gain from your relationship.
You should gain something out of the relationship apart from love
As the first rule of any breakup should be, check for how your partner contributes to your life. If they do and it is good enough, they should get a second chance. Or at least their contribution should be considered before making the final decision. They should feel like they had a fair chance to be with you. Again, our aim is to make this breakup fair for both the individuals.
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11. How will my family react to this?
Have you involved your families in your relationship? Good news!
And well… bad, too!!
If you have involved your families in your relationship, it is good news for you because you don’t have to do this alone. I strongly feel that your family is your biggest and harshest critic. I have said this in my previous articles and I would say this again that your family can see what you can’t. They can sense certain negativities in the people around you that you never would. So, if you think your family is sane enough to give you the right advice, run your decision by them. Let them be a part of it.
And now, for the bad news. I think you already know this one. When you involve your family, breaking up becomes a more difficult and serious affair. You have to explain yourself to more than one person. And it affects more than two people. Have you thought of that? How do you think your family will perceive this decision? Think about that!
12. Do I want to keep the window open for getting back together?
There are two types of breakups. One; where you keep in touch and don’t shut all the doors of getting back. This usually happens with mature, long-term relationships because it is not possible to immediately move on. Also, because you have spent so much time together that it is very difficult to live without each other suddenly.
It is your choice
Then there is a second type where you shut all the communication down and swear to never see each other again. This happens when the breakup is too painful and you don’t want to think about it. In any case, it is okay. It is your choice. But you need to pick one. You can’t keep it open to interpretation. That kind of poetic liberty does not work for relationships.
You need to make it clear. If you end things by saying “I hope we can be friends,” it means you should be ready to be friends. Amicable! You can’t be ‘facebook friends’ in real life. You would really have to put in efforts then. Alternatively, if you end things by saying, “We should go different ways” or “I don’t want to have any contact with you after this,” it means you can’t stalk them or like their photos on social media. You really have to cut all your contact with them. It is either black or white. Breakups should not be grey.
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13. How can I make it less dramatic and painful for both of us?
You need to have two focus areas when it comes to breaking up. Your prime focus should be to make it less painful for your partner whereas the secondary focus should be on making it less dramatic for both of you. You can’t have a movie or TV serial breakups like Ross and Rachel, regardless of how much you both love F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
It should be honest, straightforward and less theatrical
In fact, it needs to be like Phoebe and Mike’s breakup. Remember the one where they are about to move in together and Phoebe decides that she does want to have more than just a perpetual live-in relationship? That was such a mature and understanding moment. It felt like they really cared about each other more than the relationship on an individual level. That is what your breakup should be like. It should be honest, straightforward and less theatrical.
14. How should I go about it?
You can’t break up over a text message. Nor can you do it over a phone call. In fact, the only way of doing it is face-to-face. This is good for two reasons. One; you don’t have to live with the guilt of not seeing the person’s face while you were making them go through the pain. Two; it shows respect and thoughtfulness toward the other person’s feelings when you break up face-to-face. So, you need to decide beforehand about how you want to make it happen.
15. Are we truly unhappy with each other enough to break up?
Finally, to the most important question of them all. Probably more important than the first one. When you are about to break up with someone, your judgement tends to get clouded by your intensity toward the thought of breaking up. And you may end up making the wrong decision. So, think clearly. Are you truly unhappy or is it just momentary?
One of my very close friends recently got out of a 5-year relationship. Her boyfriend had moved to the USA for further studies and they had been in a long distance relationship for a couple of years. As far as I know the guy, he was never the one to have commitment issues or any other problems with my friend. In fact, he was the one who convinced her to get into a relationship with him, ensuring her that he would keep her happy. Everything was going good barring a few fights and arguments that happen in every long-distance relationship. However, 2 weeks back, he broke up with her saying that he was never truly happy with her and that he regretted dating her. He said it was all a mistake.
Are you truly unhappy or is it just momentary?
While it did shock me a little, I immediately knew that he was simply flipping out. It was not that he was never truly happy with her. It was just that he was not happy with her right now (or for some time). There would not be a 5-year relationship if he was never happy. It would have ended a long time ago. Also, I realised that the reason for his unhappiness was not something that my friend did. Being in the USA, away from home and everybody had taken a toll on him. He wanted to have a relationship that allowed him to have some physical interaction with his partner. And that is okay! He is not cut out for a long distance relationship. But that does not give him the license to put the blame on his partner completely.
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My final advice to you is to find the source of your unhappiness. Maybe it is not your partner. Perhaps it is you! And unless you come to terms with whatever is making you unhappy, you would never be happy with anyone. So, start pondering! Make wise decisions that would benefit everyone involved.